Freedom House Announces New Chairman, James Woolsey

Washington, DC

The Freedom House Board of Trustees announced today that R. James Woolsey has been elected to serve as the organization's new chairman.

Mr. Woolsey has had a distinguished career in the private sector and in government. During the twelve years he has served in the U.S. Government, Mr. Woolsey has held Presidential appointments in two Democratic and two Republican administrations. He has served as Director of Central Intelligence, Ambassador to the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), Vienna; Under Secretary of the Navy, and as General Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services.

Mr. Woolsey joined Booz Allen Hamilton in July, 2002, as a Vice President and officer in the firm's Global Assurance practice located in McLean, Virginia. Previously Mr. Woolsey was a partner at the law firm of Shea & Gardner in Washington, D.C., where he practiced for twenty-two years, on four occasions, beginning in 1973; his practice was in the fields of civil litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and corporate transactions.

Amb. Woolsey succeeds New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as the organization's chairman. Richardson resigned from the post of chairman of Freedom House upon his taking office on January 1st. He will continue to serve on the Freedom House Board as a Trustee.

"Jim Woolsey has had a distinguished career in public service and in the private sector. Through his writings, his speeches and his many public appearances he has demonstrated throughout his career a firm commitment to the causes of global freedom, U.S. engagement in the world, and bipartisan consensus. We are certain he will make an outstanding chairman and will build on the progress the organization made under Bill Richardson's tenure," said Freedom House Vice Chairman Mark Palmer, who participated in the work of the organization's search committee.

"Jim Woolsey is respected across the political spectrum. He is able to work with people of diverse views and backgrounds in behalf of the causes of freedom and international security. He is ideally suited to lead Freedom House, " said Freedom House Vice Chairman Ned Bandler.

Freedom House has a diverse board consisting of Democrats, Republicans, and independents. It includes representatives of business, labor, journalism, and the academic world, and includes many former government officials. The organization was founded in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie and other eminent Americans as a global voice for democracy and human rights. It produces annual surveys on the state of democratic and political change, and works with civic groups and think tanks to promote reform in emerging democracies and closed societies. In December 2002, the White House announced that Freedom House assessments of political rights and civil liberties will be used in determining which countries qualify for foreign aid under the proposed new Millennium Challenge Account, which provides for enhanced development assistance to poor countries that meet minimum performance standards linked to the rule of law and transparency.

Freedom House has a staff of over 80, maintains offices in Washington, D.C. and New York, and has overseas branches in Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Romania, Morocco, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Algeria.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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